Nyepi, the Most Silent Day on Bali Island

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Mecaru ritual
Illustration of mecaru ritual.

GREAT silence will embrace the Island of the Gods (Bali) on March 3. What happens? It is the celebration of Nyepi (Day of Silence). On that day, all daily activities are stopped for 24 hours. All routines across the island will be limited, except for vital objects such as hospitals.

Nyepi Day is one of the major Hindu holidays which is celebrated at the turn of the Saka year. In 2022, the Saka Year is 1944. Meanwhile, the other holidays are celebrated every 210 days based on pawukon calendar.

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Several days or a day before the Nyepi celebration, the Hindus hold a series of religious ceremonies. Among them, there are melasti (melis) meaning the purification of ceremonial paraphernalia, sacred statues of gods and all Hindus pay homage to locations of water sources such as lakes, rivers and seas. Then, it is followed by praying together at village temple and Tawur or pecaruan (Bhuta Yadnya) which aims to harmonize the life of the universe physically and psychically (sekala and niskala). Hopefully, the implementation of Nyepi can run smoothly and all people who celebrate and enter the New Year the next day will be in full peace.

During the Nyepi Day, all accesses to and from Bali Island by land, sea and air are closed for 24 hours starting at 06:00 (sunrise) on March 3 until 06:00 the next day or March 4.

Hindus carry out Catur Brata Penyepian or four abstinences, namely the cessation of four activities such as amati karya (not doing activities), amati geni (not turning on fires and lights), amati lelungan (not traveling) and amati lelanguan (not enjoying entertainment).

People can meditate in the silence as there are no roars of machines, motorbikes or vehicles. At the same time, the island can reduce its pollution so the air is getting clearer and fresher.

The last series the next day is Ngembak Geni. Hindus visit relatives and family to forgive one another for all the mistakes made in the previous year.

One day when the Covid-19 pandemic has really ended, you will have the opportunity to experience this silence on the Island of the Gods in person. One day before the celebration, the youth usually parade ogoh-ogoh or papier mache demon around their customary village. Tourists usually watch the parade near their hotel until before midnight.

On thing commonly experienced by guests during the Nyepi celebration before the pandemic is the limited activities around the hotel, limited use of lamps in the hotel area. Last but not least is special package along with its attractive benefits.

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